Picture of rainclouds over Lower Manhattan in New York City
Rainclouds gather over New York City’s Lower Manhattan skyline
New York is the Empire city that never sleeps: always bustling and always crowded. Occasionally, however, the streets empty suddenly as people lunge for the nearest taxicab or down the nearest subway entrance.

When it starts raining, and we don’t just mean a drizzle but a true downpour, New Yorkers venture inside just like anybody else would do. When you’re visiting New York and the forecast suggests a downpour, you might have to adjust your schedule a bit. Luckily, New York City has plenty of indoor things to do!

To help you plan a day out in New York City on a rainy day, we’ll highlight some of the best indoor activities in the city!


New York, being the massive city it is, offers some of the most famous and largest museums in the world. For a day out in rainy New York City, we’ve selected four museums that are all exciting and have enough exhibitions on display to last you at least a couple of hours!

  • Metropolitan Museum of Art
Image of Manhattan’s Metropolitan’s Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan
New York City’s largest museum houses art collections from all over the world. Permanent art collections include Classical Antiquity, Ancient Egypt, Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas, Islamic Art, European paintings and much more. Work by famous artists such as Turner, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Van Gogh, Monet and Picasso is displayed in the museum. If you want to see all the collections at the Met you’ll probably need more than a day, so it’s best to pick a handful of galleries you really want to explore and take your time for this. You can always come back to see more on another rainy day!

  • Museum of Modern Art

The MoMa is probably New York’s second most famous museum. The museum of modern art contains not only paintings and sculptures, but also works of architecture, design and electronic media. Examples of highlights in the collection are The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh and Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Pablo Picasso.

Other famous artists included in the MoMa are Rousseau, Mondrian and Warhol. Admission to the MoMa is $25 for an adult, but every Friday after 4 pm the entrance to the MoMa is completely free!

  • Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Picture of New York City’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City
People come to the Guggenheim for the splendid collections of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, Early Modern and contemporary art, but also to see the museum’s famous building. The cylindrical landmark was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and offers a striking spiral interior that today showcases temporary exhibitions. The must-see building became a National Historic Landmark in 2008.

  • American Museum of Natural History

This is a great museum to take the kids to on a rainy day, as most of the collections are family oriented. The museum boasts impressive dinosaur fossils such as a tyrannosaurus rex, and contains collections on animals, meteorites, gem stones, ocean life and more. The museum’s planetarium features space shows that are extremely popular with adults and children alike. Not to mention, anyone who’s ever seen the movie Night at the Museum will definitely quite enjoy a visit to the “AMNH”.

Shopping in Manhattan

Some of New York City’s best shops are just like museums, since you can spend an entire afternoon in them!

Gigantic indoor shopping centers such as the Manhattan Mall on 33rd Street or the Time Warner Center on 59th Street contain dozens of fashion stores such as Hugo Boss or Victoria’s Secret. Plus, these stores are often way less crowded than the ones on 5th Avenue.

Another store to check out on a rainy day is Macy’s: the world’s biggest department store! Stretching across an entire block, the store on 34th Street between 6th and 7th Avenue can keep you occupied for hours and hours.

A picture of the Chelsea Market in Manhattan
The Chelsea Market in Manhattan features many food stores
When it comes to food, there also a great variety of stores to be found in the city. Eataly on 23rd Street and 5th Avenue houses everything Italian, from wines to cheeses to pasta to bread; perfect for preparing your own Italian meal. Chelsea Market is another indoor food court with shops ranging from bakeries to wineries.

Enjoying NYC from the comfort of your vacation rental

Instead of strolling through the rain searching for the right restaurant, you can stock up on fresh ingredients at any of these stores, and then go home to prepare your own meal just as you like it!

Our vacation rental apartments in New York City offer fully-equipped kitchens, so you can have fun preparing whatever dish you like! Of course, it’s also quite nice to be able to sit in your own apartment with nice hot food and good company while watching the rain pour down outside. If you decide you just want to stay in for an entire day, there’s also ton of activities to do in your own apartment! For instance, make your own microwave popcorn, settle on the couch and watch a great movie with your friends or family without having to step outside!

Broadway Musicals

Image of Times Square billboards with Broadway musicals in NYC
Broadway musicals billboards on Times Square in NYC
If after dinner you do want to step outside and are ready to brave the rain again, why not take a subway to Times Square? Although visiting Times Square on a rainy day might be a wet and fairly unpleasant experience, no such thing can be said of visiting one of the many nearby theaters on Broadway.

There are almost too many shows to choose from on Broadway, but some of the longest running plays include The Phantom of the Opera at the Majestic Theatre, Chicago at the Ambassador Theatre and the Lion King at the Minskoff Theatre. Every day, discounted tickets can be bought at the TKTS booth on Times Square for the evening performances, so if you want a good deal make sure to bring an umbrella!

If you want to check out more musicals on Broadway, see our Foursquare list Best musicals and theaters in New York City.

Movie Magic in New York City

For a cheaper alternative to a night out, you can also check out one of New York City’s many movie theaters. Just off Times Square you’ll find AMC Empire 25 on 42nd Street & 8th Avenue, which is a gigantic theater great for blockbusters, and where you can also catch IMAX 3D showings.

If art cinema is more to your liking, the Paris Theatre on 58th Street & 5th Avenue is a classic theater with just one movie screen that often shows the crème de la crème of art-house cinema.

New York City Concerts

Picture of New York City’s Radio City Music Hall
Radio City Music Hall in New York City
For a truly memorable night out, you can also take a taxicab to one of New York City’s many concert venues.

Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, Carnegie Hall and the New York Philharmonic are all famous names throughout the world. Because of this, it is wise to book popular concerts far in advance, or you’ll risk dressing up for an already sold-out show. If you’re looking for a slightly more low-key place, the East Village offers some amazing live-music cafes, while you’ll find the best jazz lounges in Harlem. Also worth paying a visit is Harlem’s famous Apollo Theater, which apart from concerts also holds a great Amateur Night every Wednesday. On amateur night, young and talented performers get to impress the crowd during a short showcase, and they are judged by professional judges and the crowd. It’s quite an experience!

We hope we’ve given you enough inspiration for an amazing day out in New York City, even when it’s raining!